More previews from the Kelly Tyrannosaur Project.

Kelly TrixFBAs we can see here… not everything tyrannosaur has to be Tyrannosaurus! This classic scene has been depicted many times…And it should have been an awesome one to watch. Triceratops was once depicted as a mud wrestler by Dr. Bob Bakker.

Mike Kelly has been painstakingly putting together a treaty about Tyrannosaurus that wants to embrace everything: from local environments, to the prey, to the extant contemporary fauna and to the different approaches to recreate the image of the über predator… feathers and no feathers,,,. Obviously after my “conversion” through the discovery of  Yutyrannus, there was no way I could go back to do Tyrannosaurus the way I had done all my life. Parsimony reigns in Palaeontology. We will need now hard evidence to see T. rex naked the way it used too be, even if for some  the acceptance of image transition has been and continues to be very hard. And that has included me and Mike himself… But once you make your mind about the new image and understand why,  the only question for the artist from then on is to make the image believable!  I’m really looking forward to see Mike Kelly’s book finished and published. It’s going to be a real achievement at every possible level. Tyr  rowB

Obviously the one showing the Keratin Revolution was not only T. rex… and Triceratops had to have his whole new make-up too! This time blending the hard evidence of hits skin,  I have used a B&W stripped  pattern that I have used before and curiously makes it blend quite well with the surroundings . Keep plugged in for more on the Keratin Revolution in the not so far future!

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Just a single picture…


Hatching The Past in Delaware USA (picture by Charlie Magovern). A momentous  snap that finally show the moment Oviraptors hatch their babies in the XXI Century (albeit in human form).

Who says Paleoart doesn’t pay? At least some times it does…And this kind of payment is priceless!

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Odds and Sods… more extras for Anusuya Chinsamy’s Fossils For Africa.

TendaguruBHaving fun with old artwork includes also  modifying existing pieces that  I never found completely satisfactory the first time around. This Tendaguru composition pretended to simply pleasantly illustrate all the famous well known animals from that famous Tanzanian formation. I have always found  Elaphrosaurus rather puzzling… when I saw its skeleton at the Humboldt Museum in Berlin it looked odd and the skull was obviously too reconstructed to be  sure how would it have really looked: very long neck and body and almost ridiculous small arms for a mid sized Theropod.  A long time agoi it wqas considered an ornithomimosaur, it’s currently classified as a ceratosaurian but its possible relation to abelisaurs seems also justified.  In the picture it could be chasing either the ornithopod Dryosaurus (hypothetically quilled in the picture) or, obviously,  the baby Brachiosaurus sheltered under the monstrous frame of its mother… Obviously the scene wouldn’t be complete without the armoured Kentrosaurus that, together with the rest of the animals, looks tiny in an scenario dominated by Brachiosaurus. In many senses this is just a tribute to  the great experience that is the Humboldt Museum… an extraordinary dinosaur hall that doesn’t appear too big compared with many others around the world, but, the ensemble is so impressive and so well put together that you can spend hours just sitting by the feet of Brachiosaurus, Diplodocus and Dicraeosaurus and in awe of the contrast in sizes and shapes! The pterosaurs in this scenario are Dsungaripterus… but it’s location here is purely hypothetical.


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Genesis of a Feast. The Trike Decapitation!

T rex CarcassBEverything started inconspicuously… SVPCA, lethargic rodent presentation (very sorry rodents!) and my mind reeling by a fantastic suggestion of Mark Wildman… what can you do? Start doodling! From doodling anywhere I could, to formal pencil leading inevitably to the final thing… The corridors of meetings like SVPCA or SVP are the source of so much paleontological riches! DSC02702B

The fact is that there’s evidence of T. rex teeth marks on the coronoid process of the lower jaw of a Triceratops (as shown in this  display in the Carter County Museum). The rex  pulling on the trikes’ skull  brought me nightmarish images of its final decapitation! And thanks to Mark Wildman (and Andrew Parisi for the picture)  for pointing out that  this is not the only known lower jaw  from a Triceratops showing the teeth marks…  With the head shield  out of the way, T. rex would have been able to  expose the neck, even if the skin was protected with parallel rows of square scales as we know from the -still unpublished- evidence,  it must have been an irresistible delicacy for a bunch of  carcass-feasting T. rexes.  That way they could pick and choose… initially avoiding the well protected  spiky parts of the body!20150725_133507CCcoronoid At the end I have no doubt that very little of the body remained, probably except the, mostly, not very fleshy skull… maybe that is why  we find so many skull remains and so little at the level of whole skeletons.

T rex CarcassSkB

Food for the mind like this is what is still providing me the thrills to continue my work. Whenever something entices me I immediately jump to the challenge. Nowadays I care so much more about new, provocative ideas than technical art achievements! My advice to new paleoartists is: forget obsessing with technicalities and get into conceiving new scenarios, new looks, new ideas! These days it is becoming difficult to create novel alternative illustrations  in the middle of the maelstrom of so much Paleoart.

This is a formal request: any  reader of this blog that comes with a really interesting, new, provocative vision (like Mike Kelly has been providing us with lately)  just get in touch… If you’d like to see something that really tickles my fancy you will definitively see it realised by yours truly if  it pleases you!

T rex CarcassBCU

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Flugsaurier and SVPCA 2015… Face to Face with the Snake!

The Paleo meetings here in England are getting more sophisticated and better attended these days. As a novelty this year the legendary Flugsaurier (Pterosaur) meeting happened in Portsmouth. It always brings me great memories from Munich  years ago when we did a tribute to Peter Wellnhofer . The novelty this time is that it was  synchronised with the bigger and wider SVPCA at Southampton. The twin port city events  were sequenced together non-stop (including field trips) during two successive weeks,  mostly thanks to Portsmouth University Dr. David Martill‘s keen eye for event opportunity. Needless to say, I had to jump to the occasion of meeting old friends and have contact with new ones.DSCN1130
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Unfortunately I could only attend one day at Flugsaurier, but the organising team there was so helpful that they themselves expertly mounted  my exhibit stall.  I had enough time to meet among others Pteroart personality and new Paladin of Paleoart of the year Mark Witton,DSCN1142

…. and Bob Loveridge, one of the luckiest persons in the world! He massaged to find this Pterosaur marvel after his first clean hammer blow to his first rock in Solnhofen… here he is with fellow Zeppelin and Paleoart fan Steven Vidovic admiring the piece.


The other side of the pond was well represented: old friends like Brooks Britt, Don Henderson and the legendary Brent Breithaup (last two in the picture) were there. Regrettably no auction action for Brent this time!


But the “glue” to both meetings -and the emerging star of both shows- was David Martill. David is a Palaeontologist  that manages to preserve my faith in Science overcoming Bureaucracy when it becomes a real hindrance. And he is -as we were going to be able to see- the man than exposed the Snake (with capital “S”) to the world!

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Next was SVPCA  at  Southampton’s  National Oceanography Centre . We managed to stay  for the whole duration. More delegates than ever (close to two hundred), a great organisation by Gareth Dyke and his team of undergraduates (first time we could be attending the talks while we were at the exhibitor’s hall!)  and some interesting surprises, both at the Paleoart level and at the “Scientific Paper ” level .

DSCN1215 DSCN1205DSCN1231 As you can see Carmen and I managed to mount a really nice stall (lots of space available) and  we were often in very good company at the exhibitor level!DSCN1289

Meet the fluffy marvels of Rebecca Groom, her fantastic, fully articulated Yutyrannus  became fast the mascot of everybody…  and her  fabulous Tiktaalik was the star of the AuctionDSCN1200 DSCN1194

Here are some fine examples of the casting and modelling abilities of Andrew Cocks


DSCN1211And of course, Richard Forrest and his mobiles, one pterosaurs and another marine reptiles) that were made especially for his grandson..,. but at the end auctioned for the benefit of many more!. Here admired here also by Dave Hone ... a gathering of the two great UK ptero-marine reptiles star heroes!







Not much to say about the dinosaur talks this year (except perhaps some mind-blowing ideas about fighting Brontosaurus from Mike Taylor and a basal neotheropod from the early Jurassic by Martill) . However I found this little extra in the entertaining mini Dinosaur Encounter at Sea City Museum Southampton… the Past and Present of Paleoart…glad to see that I’m still considered  part of  the museum of “the present”!  The Holtz/Rey Random House “Dinosaurs, The Most Complete Encyclopaedia…” lives on !(and so Steve White’s compilation book Dinosaur Art).

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DinoFooter-NEW1Rebecca Groom was everywhere… so the exhibition would not have been complete without her other work too!


My exhibit stall is always an excuse for an increasing number of snapshots of viewers of “Dinosaurs In Your Face” for my collection… here Bob Loveridge,  David Unwin and the illustrious Godzilín Spanish entourage (recommended!)… thanks to Iván Narváez for the picture!… of course David Martill and I shared a joke or two about snakes… mostly!

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And speaking of stars, well, the moment  that everybody (some openly, some secretly) awaited finally arrived. Nick Longrich was there to  do a full presentation  of Martill’s famous and controversial missing-link, Early Cretaceous snake Tetrapodophis amplectus. The controversy surrounding this famous fossil from Brazil,  that years later appeared “accidentally” or “mysteriously” in Germany, is not a scientific one,  but a bureaucratic one.  I will stand for anything that counters stagnation in science (and art), and bureaucracy is a kind of snake that in this case (as in so many) the only thing it does is precisely that: paralyse and hide. They will try to poison  everything when you less expect it.. !


Nick Longrich presentations are always guaranteed to set your teeth on edge. I have known Nick for many years and he is as thorough in his approach as  annoying to people that can’t bear his obsessive zeal for detail and sharp observations… all in the name of the science… and that I respect most!  He showed us how clearly  the specimen is precisely “Evolution caught in the act”… a snake, which used its long body as a boa constrictor but had four, fully functional tiny members that helped to grapple the prey… a true paleontological event!

We owe David Martill to have saved that specimen out for private hands,  scientifically disclosing and describing it  with  Nick Longrich and above all,  releasing everything to us. We deserve that! I can just see the face of smug bureaucrats and, of course, the  creationists, who may be feeling the most frustrated dummies in the world by now.Tetrapodophis

HindlimbSVPCA was specially fruitful for me in a number of things.  I don’t have the space to  name everyone that I felt indebted to in this meeting and Flugsaurier, but, apart from the already mentioned,  my partner Carmen NaranjoRichard Hing, Niels Bonde, Eric BuffetautGeorgia Witton Maclean, JJ Hill, Jeff Liston, Craig Fraser, Roh Nicholls, John Conway, Sandra Chapman, Rebecca Gelernter and a good bunch deserve special mention for their support, appreciation, stimulating chat and company.

 I can say that some others will be  also responsible for a new T. rex/Triceratops restoration I’m planning and I’m looking forward to do something about Stu Pond’s and Sarah-Jane Strachan’s new weird, exotic and wonderful Polacanthus-relative.

And speaking of snakes… well, here’s my emblematic surreal Mexican version of an old battle that the Snake lost…pity it’s missing the front legs, but that will be solved very soon!


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Nanotyrannus… is it or is it not?

Nanotyrannus  was considered  as a different tyrannosaur species right from its discovery (especially by Robert Bakker). However, soon his status started to oscillate between different tyrannosaur and  a juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex. This has always been a source of  hot debate. We have had a recent long  discussion triggered by the always provocative  Mike Kelly that went on and on for what seemed ages without reaching agreement!. After Nanotyrannus came “Jane“, another source of tyrannosaur debates… Famous sculptor Tyler Keillor commissioned me to do a feathered “Jane” a while ago, which I did with pleasure. This is traced on top of its skull.Jane1 Even if I have seen some opinions that keep confusing Jane and Nanotyrannus’ ,  I consider that both  are different animals, and many people agree now that Jane is indeed a juvenile Tyrannosaurus, while Nanotyrannus is a mystery tyrannosaur that fiercely battles ceratopsians these days, thanks mostly to the extraordinary discovery of a mortally wounded Nanotyrannus  entangled with a ceratopsian (probably Triceratops although that is also been debated between an unknown ceratopsian and Chasmosaurus) both encased together  in rock for posterity.

It is not the first time that I have done Nanotyrannus… I did this cute, tongue-in-cheek, portrait of him a while ago for some friends as you can see here…OldNanoBTime flies! To celebrate such mysterious tyrannosaur I continue these days  the tradition in a more contemporary fully feathered, skull corrected light, this time for a mural in our next exhibition with Gondwana Studios (more on that later),,, after consulting with the foremost expert in dinosaur anatomy Scott Hartman (his skeletal reconstructions know no rival these days, see Scott Hartman’s Skeletal Drawing), I came about with this ensemble of Nanotyrannus versus Stygimoloch… not completely finished and no background yet, just the joy of feeling  action captured in mid air…!Nanoblog1

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The Archaeopteryx Project is almost here!

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It’s taking shape! (here’s the latest corrected version)  We have been working  together with Alanna Magovern and Nick Regester from Silver Plume Exhibitions (an offspring of the Stone and Company illustrious clan) in Dinosaurs Take Flight  a paleoart tribute to  the (possibly) most important fossil in the history of Darwinian Evolutionary Theory: Archaeopteryx. Silver Plume Exhibitions, is also the production team behind the acclaimed traveling exhibition Hatching the Past, and have teamed up with the design and scientific minds from the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History to bring this unique exhibition to (for starters) some relevant venues in the US.It will have a grand opening in just a few months time.   Paleaortists involved  include no other than William Stout, Julius Csotonyi, Mark Hallett and Dennis Wilson  and Gary Staab will take care of the 3D section… the in-depth approach to the personalities of the artists’ artwork  will be shared with, among other things, interactive displays and casts of ALL the Archaeopteryx fossils together   My involvement includes not only new and old  portraits of Archaeopteryx but a life size mural, not just of Archaeopteryx but… some of its  closest family ties! See the relatives in a close to six meters long “march”, it will also have a partial Utahraptor for good measure.

Deinonychus BYes, imagine my Deinonychus life size side by side with Velociraptor… and Microraptor and… Dave…and  the lot… the contrast of sizes is going to be remarkable, but important to noter…. although the main protagonist will have a doble preferment treatment!

An interesting aspect of this itinerant exhibition will be the fact that is more slanted to the “art” aspect of the show. Alanna and Nick originally wanted an artshow with Archaeopteryx as a theme! It has been conceived more as an art exhibition that just a scientific one. This will put to the test what the term “Paleoart” really mean and what it is for, with the spotlight in the very different personalities and idiosyncrasies of the artists and how they have been inspired by the landmark fossil. After all, that is what “art” is supposed to be: a personal language, a personal way to express yourself…the question is, how express personality through scientific restorations of dinosaurs? Well, it is called “style”! And there’s going to be plenty to choose from stylish approaches here

  Needless to say it’s incredible good fun to be working with all these very capable people.  In the recent Berlin SVP I had the opportunity to exchange some seemingly very controversial ideas about the feathering of Archaeopteryx with  Nick Longrich and Jakob Vinther… some may find it outlandish, but they convinced me to feather the animal to an extent not ever seen before,… to almost over the tip of its toes!

In these times of  popular paleo-misinformation, exhibitions like this are very important to keep things in historical and artistic perspective…  We are looking forward to a great success with this exhibition. For more information  visit the Silver Plume blog and Facebook page at Dinosaurs Take Flight , and

Keep tuned for more news about the event.

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More previews from the Kelly Tyrannosaur Project.

Originally posted on Luis V. Rey Updates Blog:

Kelly TrixFBAs we can see here… not everything tyrannosaur has to be Tyrannosaurus! This classic scene has been depicted many times…And it should have been an awesome one to watch. Triceratops was once depicted as a mud wrestler by Dr. Bob Bakker.

Mike Kelly has been painstakingly putting together a treaty about Tyrannosaurus that wants to embrace everything: from local environments, to the prey, to the extant contemporary fauna and to the different approaches to recreate the image of the über predator… feathers and no feathers,,,. Obviously after my “conversion” through the discovery of  Yutyrannus, there was no way I could go back to do Tyrannosaurus the way I had done all my life. Parsimony reigns in Palaeontology. We will need now hard evidence to see T. rex naked the way it used too be, even if for some  the acceptance of image transition has been and continues to be very…

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